Apple's $500 Developer Program Includes Tools and Resources for Transitioning to Apple Silicon, Plus a Loaner A12Z-Based Mac Mini

To help developers prepare for the Mac transition from Intel processors to Apple Silicon, Apple has launched a Universal App Quick Start Program, which "includes all the tools, resources, and support you need to build, test, and optimize your next-generation Universal apps for macOS Big Sur."

universal app quick start program
The program requires a brief application, with limited availability and priority for developers with an existing macOS application. The program costs $500 and includes access to beta software, developer labs, private discussion forum, technical support, and other resources.

On the hardware side, participants will receive exclusive access to a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which resembles a Mac mini but uses Apple's A12Z Bionic chip from the latest iPad Pro as its brains. In addition to the A12Z Bionic, the DTK includes 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a pair of 10 Gbps USB-C ports, a pair of 5 Gbps USB-A ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port. Thunderbolt 3 support is not included.

On the communications side, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Gigabit Ethernet are also supported. An FCC filing for the DTK reveals that it carries an Apple model number of A2330, which was the lone new Mac model number that appeared in the Eurasian Economic Commission's database earlier this month.

Notably, the DTK remains the property of Apple and must be returned at the conclusion of the program. Participants must also agree to a number of restrictions against tearing the machine down, using it for work other than development related to the program, or renting or leasing it out.

The Universal App Quick Start Program is similar to one Apple launched for the transition from PowerPC chips to Intel processors back in 2005. In that case, the program cost was $999 and participants were provided with loaner machines based on the Power Mac G5. As with the new DTK machines, those Macs also had to be returned at the end of the program, although Apple did provide participants with a free first-generation Intel iMac upon returning the developer kit as bonus.

Apple has made no promise of a similar bonus this time, so it remains to be seen whether program participants will get any hardware to keep.

Top Rated Comments

HiRez Avatar
25 months ago

I purchased a 16-inch MacBook just a few months ago... How long will Apple provide macOS updates for Intel macs? And will apps developed for Apple Silicon work on Intel macs? Honestly not happy about this transition...
Xcode now creates universal binaries that will run on both Apple ARM and Intel chips. No guarantees, but it's very unlikely they'll end support for Intel Macs they're selling today for a long time. Apple likes repeat customers and ending support quickly would probably invite lawsuits in addition to loss of goodwill.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Infinite Vortex Avatar
25 months ago

Thunderbolt 3 support is not included.
While not unexpected… it is a little disconcerting for me.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CWallace Avatar
25 months ago
While (no TB3 support is) not unexpected… it is a little disconcerting for me.
It could just be a side-effect of the A12Z SoC - it probably does not have a TB3 controller because no iPad Pro uses it.

Future Mac-specific SoCs can easily add TB support.

I purchased a 16-inch MacBook just a few months ago... How long will Apple provide macOS updates for Intel macs? And will apps developed for Apple Silicon work on Intel macs? Honestly not happy about this transition...
Intel support will be for many, many years.

As for "fat binaries" that support x86 and ARM architectures, that is a possibility.


Looks like they are discouraging people who just want a developer mac to experiment/mess around with.
Yup.


I am an iOS developer. Does it mean I am not entitled to purchase this if I do not have an existing Mac app?
You perhaps would not be one of the developers Apple would be prioritizing with the initial shipments.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JosephAW Avatar
25 months ago
I wonder if the motherboard is red? 10 years from now we'll see these on eBay.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
25 months ago
Oh these things are definitely getting torn down. 100%.


While not unexpected… it is a little disconcerting for me.
They'll probably have USB 4 when shipping, which is essentially Thunderbolt 3 with a different name.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kyjaotkb Avatar
25 months ago

With no Thunderbolt 3 support, I am curious if this is just with the dev version or if TB 3 or TB 4 will be supported in the final hardware?
The first Intel macs were much more exciting than the P4 dev kits. There is hope. Not sure about TB4 but I’m pretty sure USB4 will be supported (i.e. TB3 essentially). Just my 2 cent though.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...